Eline’s Diary #1: My first drive with the handbike

It took me months before I received the handbike that was approved by the council. But it was definitely worth the wait. Here’s my story of the first time I’m taking the handbike out for a drive.

Me, after my first drive with my handbike. In a beige sweater with a coffee in my hand. I'm on a blue bench with a blue coffee cup and a tired but satisfied smile on my face
My first time out by myself with the handbike! Drinking a cup of coffee at one of my fave spots around the corner.

It is Sunday morning, 08:00 am.

I’m wide awake and Marcus is already out playing golf. I’m meeting my friend for lunch today, but actually already feel like wanting to go outside. After 2 hours contemplating what to do, I decided. I’m heading out. By myself. With my handbike. And now, here I am. It’s 10:00 am on a Sunday morning. I’ve taken myself out for the first time by myself, for a coffee, whilst writing this blog post. And I couldn’t be happier.

Over the past 4,5 years, there has only been a handful of times I went out by myself. All of these times were before my second incident. My friends & family have gotten used to it: they know if we meet up, they will always come to my house to pick me up and walk me somewhere. From therapies to parties, from my parents’ home to holidays, nowhere did I go by myself. But I have been craving to do something alone for such a long time now.

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My wish to get out by myself

So a few months ago, I spoke to my occupational therapist and mentioned my wish to go out by myself. A proper wheelchair and a new handbike was what I needed to achieve this and thankfully she wholeheartedly agreed. I went through the process of applying for a handbike. Here in The Netherlands we have the privilege to get these as a loan by the government. A fully electric one, so that, on days with low energy levels, I can still get out of the house. And it was approved. I remember crying when they approved it. YES finally some light at the end of the tunnel and hopefully a new way to get some independence back. Months went by and I finally received the handbike. Of course you can imagine, that once an aid like this, that will help you gain so much of your independence and freedom back, is approved, every day you have to wait, is one too many. But man, it was worth the wait.

My first journey on the handbike through Amsterdam

It is the first time I’m taking the handbike out for a drive by myself. The feelings of excitement and a tad bit of anxiety are mixing through my body, whilst spinning away. My cute neighbour girl, around 4 years old, got out of the house and yelled “Now, off you go!”. And with that exact same excitement I smiled back at her and drove off. Into the world. With the wind on my face, nothing that could hold me back.

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